Winter weather causes hundreds of crashes

Area law enforcement agencies reported minor collisions Thursday, with the vast majority of those crashes from weather-related factors.

North Carolina Highway Patrol was overwhelmed with casework after the county's winter weather Thursday morning. Highway Patrol reported more than 300 crashes Thursday.

Hickory Police Department reported several weather-related collisions Thursday morning on Tate Boulevard.

"We had a fist full of accidents," said HPD Capt. Gary Lee. "In one way or another, they were all weather related."

Lee said Tate Boulevard was probably the worst location Thursday for accidents in the city, but the crashes were typical of winter weather.

Twenty-two accidents were reported Thursday in the city between midnight and noon. Of those 22 crashes, 11 occurred on Tate Boulevard.

Only two of the crashes in Hickory involved injuries, and the passengers in those crashes were treated on the scene, Lee said.

One of the crashes on Tate Boulevard turned into two when a car slid on the ice and collided with another car already stopped from an prior accident.

Lee said he thought Tate Boulevard was closed briefly during the morning to allow a sand truck to access and treat the road.

Conover Police Chief Steve Brewer said the department had only one weather-related crash, where a car ran into a ditch due to icy conditions.

"There were injuries," Brewer said, "but they were very minor."

Three weather-related crashes were reported in Claremont, with two accidents on Interstate-40 on-ramps and another on Centennial Boulevard.

Claremont Police Capt. Gary Bost said no injuries were reported in the city's three weather-related crashes. He advised motorists to be particularly careful on interstate on-ramps. The ramps are sloped and made of concrete, he said, which makes it easier for icy conditions to develop.

"Sometimes it gets this bad, and sometimes it's not bad at all," Bost said of Thursday's crashes in Claremont. "Sometimes we have none. Sometimes we have more. It's just a typical winter morning."

The storm that caused Thursday's messy morning commute was scheduled to move away from the region, leaving mostly sunny weather Friday with a high of 45 degrees. According to the National Weather Service, clouds will increase Friday night, with a low about 29 degrees. Saturday starts with a slight chance of rain and snow from 10-11 a.m. Any precipitation will turn to rain after noon, with a total chance of precipitation at 20 percent.